In a developer diary released on YouTube just today, Bohemia Interactive has unveiled the setting and the storyline behind its upcoming Apex expansion for Arma 3. Along with new weapons and vehicles, it reveals a story of political tension rooted in real-life issues ongoing in the Pacific region.
Those who paid attention to the political undertones of the original Arma 3 campaign will recall that the enemy forces, called CSAT, were Chinese-backed Iranians looking to expand their sphere of influence in the Mediterranean against near-future NATO forces. The upcoming Apex expansion transplants that same proxy war to the Pacific, into a chain of islands called the Horizon Islands.
Tanoa, the 100 square-kilometer map revealed during last year's E3, is just one island in the Horizon chain. As the Apex story unfolds, Tanoa is recovering from a natural disaster. Players will take on the role as members of a small, heavily-armed NATO infantry group sent to the island on a training exercise. NATO's choice of training on Tanoa is a show of force in the region, designed to give both the Iranians in the region and local criminal gangs pause. But soon after they land, NATO forces realize that they're up against a group of heavily-trained paramilitary rebels called Syndikat and a full-fledged CSAT task force.
The plot seems ripped from the headlines, with tensions between China and the West on the rise in the Pacific. However, Bohemia Interactive have been careful to move the conflict forward to the year 2035, and also change the names — in a manner of speaking — in order to protect the innocent.
In addition to giving a much longer and more detailed look at the Tanoa terrain, the video also reveals new weapons and vehicles coming with the expansion. The most interesting gear seems to be new vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles for both NATO and CSAT forces.
The Blackfish is a new NATO VTOL craft and looks like a massive version of the modern-day Osprey combined with a C-130. The Xi'an, on the other hand, is a much lighter VTOL craft. Up front it has the same two-man crew compartment as Russian Hind helicopters with a futuristic, diamond-wing mid-section with integrated lift fans ending in a dual-engined split tail. Both the Blackfish and Xi'an will have transport and gunship variants, with side-mounted support artillery featuring prominently in the larger craft.
The new co-operative campaign coming with the expansion will run about six-to-eight hours and be playable by up to four players. Better yet, if you run into trouble the co-op will support join-in-progress, drop-in play at any time.
The release date for Apex will be announced during the PC Gaming Show on June 13.